The Unity Scoop – January 8
Dear Families of Unity,
I want to begin by conveying my best wishes to all of our families in the New Year!
It felt great to reconnect with students and staff this week following the break. With the month of January comes the midpoint of the school year and the end of the first semester at our high school. In the coming two weeks and leading up to Semester 1 final exams later this month, we are encouraging all of our high school students to be their best selves as they finish the semester out strongly. This means being in school on time every day, staying on top of all assignments, and seeking out extra help when they need it.
At our middle school, we are now midway through the second trimester of the school year. Later this month, students will complete mock exams in ELA and math to gauge readiness for the spring state exams and identify levels of mastery on important skills and concepts. This information will be used to modify upcoming lesson plans and assignments.
In addition to our academic priorities, January also marks the heart of the winter season with athletics. Unity’s student-athletes continue to provide a strong sense of pride, joy, and connectedness for our community. We had a number of events this week – including high school basketball games at the Barclays Center and middle school basketball games – during which our high school student-athletes were in attendance to provide support and encouragement. We welcome our families to attend all of our games. Unity’s athletic program is a major component of our school, and we are proud of the learning students experience alongside their teammates over the course of a season. See the calendar below for a listing of our matches this week and over the course of the month.
In this edition of The Unity Scoop, we honor the generosity of our school in engaging in a number of community service initiatives before the winter break. We also celebrate our athletic teams and their recent successes. Finally, we highlight upcoming events this week, including a Family Ambassadors meeting on Thursday evening.
Well wishes in the week ahead!
Head of School / Co-founder
Updates as of January 8, 2023:
1. Updated – January 2022 School-wide Calendar: For your family’s convenience, here is a schoolwide calendar of events for the month of January – print it out and throw it on the refrigerator door! It is possible that events could change and new events could be added. An up-to-date events calendar can always be accessed on our website.
2. New – Unity Engages in a Day of Service!: Unity students took part in a number of community service initiatives in late December, including a holiday toy/clothing/food drive, handwritten letters of recommendation, and providing a number of helpful services within our community. Enjoy the photos below of our middle school students preparing gifts for families in the community who are facing hardship and proudly bringing the items collected to a local shelter. Again, thank you to all families who contributed to the holiday drives!
3. New – The Winter Athletics Season is in Full Swing!: Congratulations to our athletic teams for a very successful week! Below are photographs of our Varsity basketball teams just following their games at the Barclays Centers. Also featured are our middle school basketball teams, who were cheered on by our high school student-athletes during home games this past Thursday. Finally, our middle school teams were in action on Saturday. All three teams won their games and did so with sportsmanship and pride!
4. New – Help Shape Your Child’s Experience in School by Taking Part in this Wednesday’s Family Ambassadors Meeting!: The next Family Ambassadors of Unity meeting is scheduled for this Wednesday, January 12th, at 6pm on Zoom. Contact Mr. Beckford (grades 6-8) or Ms. Young (grades 9-12) with questions.
5. Updated – Unity Raises $700 to Fund Over 500 Meals for Local Families Facing Hardship!: In the spirit of giving during this holiday season, Unity is engaged in our third annual #UnityGives initiative to support the cause of a fellow non-profit in Bed Stuy, The Campaign Against Hunger (TCAH). As a school, we raised $700 on behalf of TCAH. This funding will go directly to increasing access to nutritious food, social services, and a wide range of programming to underserved and disenfranchised members of the Bed-Stuy and greater Brooklyn community. TCAH extends a hearty thank you to our school community for its generosity!
6. Recap – Unity High Students Participate in Generation Citizen Civics Day at the NYC Bar Association!: A number of Unity 12th graders recently completed a 5-week civics project in Ms. Tartan’s Government and Economics course. Projects focused on curbing gun violence and addressing mental health issues among adolescents. As a part of their project, students contacted local representatives, administered student surveys, analyzed the responses, and presented their findings at the NYC Bar Association alongside students from other schools in the city and Long Island.
7. Updated – Round 2 of STAR Assessments in Reading and Math Being Administered this Week in Grades 6-8: Unity middle school students completed their second round of STAR assessments in both reading and math last month. These short, computer adaptive tests allow us to measure student progress and growth in reading and math skills over the course of the school year. We are excited to acknowledge students and the growth they have experienced over the past several months. Assessment results will be disseminated to families in January.
8. Recap – Unity’s Dance Students Perform in Winter Recital!: Unity’s dance students across grades 6-12 performed in front of a large audience of students, families, and staff this last month. Congratulations to all of our students who performed and showed off all that they have learned in their class thus far this year. Thank you to many families (and staff) who came out to take in the performance and support the cause. And, finally, congratulations to Ms. McCrae and Ms. Parnell – it is so exciting to see our burgeoning dance program reaching new heights!
9. Recap – Unity’s First Ever Core Value Auction!: Unity’s middle school students experienced an auction firsthand this past week with our inaugural Core Value Auction. During the auction, students will be able to bid on prized items using Core Value Points that they have proudly earned thus far this year by demonstrating Progress, Respect for All, Integrity, Discovery, and Empathy. Items that were auctioned included gift cards, food, toys, games, and electronics!
10. Recap – Attention Middle School Families Who Are Interested in After-school Programming!: The partnership with our middle school and St. Nick’s Alliance continues this year. St. Nick’s offers a rich array of afterschool programming in academic enrichment, leadership development, and extracurricular activities for our middle school students. Programming kicks off on Monday, September 19th. Contact Luis Rodriguez with questions by email at email@example.com or by phone at 646-676-1309.
11. Recap – Unity’s Health Policies and Protocols in 2022-23: Unity will follow guidance provided by the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) as of the start of the 2022-23 school year. The NYCDOE’s guidance aligns with the CDC’s current guidance, which we have consistently followed over the past 2.5 years. By adhering to the NYCDOE’s guidance, we believe that we are taking the proper approach to best ensure the health and safety of our community. Details on our policies are provided on the NYCDOE website.
Per the recommendation of the NYCDOE and CDC, we strongly encourage all of our families to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccinations are now available at select school sites across the city. Visit www.schools.nyc.gov for information on sites and available dates.
12. Recap – Important Information Regarding Vaccinations Requested: As we continue monitoring current health safety protocols, one significant factor in our planning is the extent to which our students are vaccinated. If you are a new Unity family, or have not yet provided your child’s vaccination status, please complete the COVID Vaccination Form at your earliest convenience. Note that we strongly encourage all of our families to take steps in getting their children vaccinated to best ensure that we are providing the highest level of safety for our community.
13. Recap – 2022-23 School Calendar of Key Events and Vacations: The table below reflects our key events and vacations calendar for the 2022-23 school year, including key events we ask for your collaboration with caregiver involvement. In addition, here is the updated PDF version of the table for your convenience. We look forward to meeting our newest families and reconnecting with our returning families at Family Kick-off-the-Year Festival & Family Orientation on August 31st!
Day of Week
Applicable to Grade Levels
|8/31/22||Wednesday||Orientation Festival, 4-7pm||6-12|
|9/7/22||Wednesday||First day of school for students||6-12|
|9/21/22 (New date)||Wednesday||MS Back to School Night, 6pm||6-8|
|9/22/22 (New date)||Thursday||HS Back to School Night, 6pm||9-12|
|10/10/22||Monday||Indigenous People’s Day, school closed||6-12|
|11/8/22||Tuesday||Election Day, In-service day for all staff / remote asynchronous day for all students||6-12|
|11/11/22||Friday||Veteran’s Day, school closed||6-12|
|11/21/22 – 11/22/22||Monday – Tuesday||MS & HS Family Conferences (11/21 – 5-8pm; 11/22 – 9am-1pm||6-12|
|11/23/22 – 11/25/22||Wednesday – Friday||Thanksgiving Recess, school closed||6-12|
|12/22/22||Thursday||Early dismissal (1:15pm for MS; 2:30pm for HS)||6-12|
|12/23/22 – 1/3/23||Friday – Tuesday||Winter Recess, school closed||6-12|
|1/16/23||Monday||Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, school closed||6-12|
|2/17/23||Friday||Remote asynchronous day for MS students only||6-8|
|2/20/23 – 2/24/23||Monday – Friday||Midwinter Recess, school closed||6-12|
|3/16/23 – 3/17/23||Thursday – Friday||MS Family Conferences (3/16 – 5-8pm;
3/17 – 9am-1pm)
|4/6/23 – 4/14/23||Thursday – Friday||Spring Recess, school closed||6-12|
|4/19/23 – 4/21/23||Wednesday – Friday||MS ELA state exam window||6-8|
|4/19/23 – 4/20/23||Wednesday – Thursday||HS Family Conferences (4/19 – 5-8pm;
4/20 – 9am-1pm)
|4/21/23||Friday||Remote asynchronous day for HS students||9-12|
|5/1/23 – 5/12/23||Monday – Friday||Advanced Placement exam window||9-12|
|5/2/23 – 5/4/23||Tuesday – Thursday||MS math state exam window||6-8|
|5/12/23||Friday||College Signing Day event||6-12|
|5/29/23||Monday||Memorial Day, school closed||6-12|
|6/14/23 – 6/20/23||Wednesday – Tuesday||MS Roundtable presentations||6-8|
|6/14/23 – 6/23/23||Wednesday – Friday||Regents exam window||8-12|
|6/19/23||Monday||Juneteenth, school closed||6-12|
|6/23/23||Friday||Last day of school for students||6-12|
|6/23/23||Friday||8th grade & 12th grade graduation ceremonies||8 & 12|
Relevant Information from Past Editions of The Scoop:
Our Community Pledge as a school outlines the actions our staff, families, and students are committed to taking. By following through on our commitments, we will undoubtedly have an enormously successful school year!
Information and Guidance on Unity’s Dress Codes for the 2022-23 School Year: Unity’s dress codes by grade level are provided below.
- Grades 6-8: Here is a link to all things dress code for all middle school students.
- Grades 9-12: Unity High’s dress code is outlined below:
- It is strongly encouraged that an official Unity top is worn in the spirit of school pride and in being united in our collective focus on learning. “Official” is defined as a top (T-Shirt or Polos) purchased from an approved vendor.
- In cases where students do not take our recommendation, students can wear tops of their choice so long as the top covers their entire torso and shoulders.
- Tops must not bear any offensive and/or inappropriate language and/or images and may not be crop tops, tube tops, halter tops or tank tops.
- Student bottoms must be long enough that the hem hits the top of the knee, shin, or ankle.
- Bottoms must properly fit and be worn at the waist. A belt must be worn if bottoms are unable to fit at the waist without sagging.
- Bottoms may have rips or tears.
- Bottoms may not be leggings, tights, catsuits/bodysuits, basketball shorts or display undergarments.
- All shoes must have backs, be closed-toed, and low heeled.
- Sandals, flip-flops, and athletic slides ARE NOT permitted (worn with or without socks).
- Crocs ARE permitted so long as the backstrap is raised behind the ankle at all times.
- For reasons related to safety, the policy for shoes will apply for all dress down days and spirit days.
School Supply Guidance: Having all of our students equipped with the supplies they need is essential to getting off to a strong start to the school year. We offer guidance below on school supplies by grade level:
COVID-19 Vaccines: Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized three COVID-19 vaccines: the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccines. The vaccine can prevent COVID-19 symptoms and severe COVID-19 illness. People 5 and older are eligible for the vaccine. Those who are fully vaccinated can more safely gather with friends and enjoy other benefits of vaccination. Many vaccination sites in the city no longer require appointments.
- See a list of sites where you can get a walk-up vaccination today. To find a vaccination site near you, including those that take appointments, use the City’s Vaccine Finder.
- Note, people who are 12 to 17 years old can only receive the Pfizer vaccine.
Mental Health Counseling and Social Work Services at Unity: If you would like to speak to a social worker about your child’s mental health or if you would like your child to receive support from a social worker in school, please reach out to Ms. Del Purgatorio via phone or text (347-688-9107) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Unity social workers can also be of assistance in providing information regarding social services (for example: housing, immigration, access to community mental health services & referrals to mental health providers, food security / access to food, public assistance, crisis intervention, etc.).
If your child or family member is experiencing a mental health crisis, NYC Well is available 24 hours a day and can be accessed by phone (1-888-NYC-WELL) or text (text WELL to 65173) or by internet chat via their website: https://nycwell.cityofnewyork.
Discounts on Home Internet Services Available: If your household is struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for a monthly service discount through the Emergency Broadband Benefit. Please visit this information page or call 833-511-0311 for more information.